Bishop’s wine

Today is the feast of St. Lucy.

In Sweden and other Nordic countries, this special feast often calls for a popular drink named glogg, a mixture of red wine, spiced by cinnamon, cloves and other spices. In the Netherlands, the mulled wine drink is known as “bisschopswijn” (bishop’s wine”).

One source says that when the English made their hot (“smoking”) mulled wine, they would give their drink different names based on the alcoholic beverage they added. For example, the Smoking Bishop used port, the Smoking Archbishop used claret, the Smoking Beadle (in England, a beadle is a lay church official) used ginger wine, the Smoking Cardinal used champagne or Rhine wine, and the Smoking Pope used burgundy.

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King Gustav I Vasa (1523-60) of Sweden is said to have had an official glow maker as part of his royal court. Raised a Catholic, the king later broke with the Church, nationalized its assets, and made Lutheranism the national religion (in much the same way as his counterpart Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church).

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